The word of the day is Crémant. What is Crémant? It’s French Fizz – fake Champagne – France’s other bubbly – and it’s real good!
I quite like fake Champagne. We opened a Friexnet Cava last night because I remembered that it paired well with tuna melts – really my wife makes the best tuna melt ever! Also, Cava is delicious on its own. Crémant is the French version of Cava – or actually vice versa as any Frenchman would be quick to point out.
One of the reasons I love Cava (Champagne from Spain) is that it doesn’t start at $50 a bottle like “le vrai stuff”. Champagne is expensive, probably worth it if you can afford it, and fun to drink. But (“and it’s a big but” – Pee Wee Herman) you can get many sparkling wines that satisfy the palate in search of some luxury.
This weekend the Vintages section of the LCBO is releasing good fake Champagne from France. Crémant comes from the Loire, Alsace, Bordeaux, and Burgundy – all regions that produce great wine. Their versions of champagne allow the wine makers to highlight their own regional grapes using the traditional méthode champenoise. If you need my wife’s tuna melt recipe I might be able to get it to you.
LOUIS BOUILLOT PERLE RARE BRUT CRÉMANT DE BOURGOGNE 2006
France | Louis Bouillot
VINTAGES | 178137 | $ 19.95
A recent study indicated that drinking water is good for you.
Water! - odourless, colourless, tasteless. Sounds dangerous to me. And “they” want me to drink 2 litres of it a day because some ridiculous health claim is attached to it? Sounds like somebody is justifying research money again.
They aren’t the boss of me. Why should I waste my time on an odourless and tasteless liquid?
(For the record Hydrogen Peroxide Solution, liquid Argon, and liquid Helium are also on the list of colourless and odourless liquids that you can’t make me drink)
Some will argue that we are 97% water? Not me – I’m 97% skeptical of these so-called “water people”. This summer give me a nice glass of rosé instead. Doesn’t that sound like better advice?
From this Saturday’s vintage release I highly recommend the Muga Rosé. Also, I’m pretty sure it’s good for you.
MUGA ROSÉ 2009
VINTAGES 603795 $ 12.95
It’s time to panic. It seems to me that nobody has taken notice of the fact that the upcoming year of 2010 is actually more binary than the year 2000. I’m concerned that everybody is ignoring this potential Armageddon. Dust off your Y2K generator and fill up your basement shelter with canned goods and bottled water. Its Y210K people and it’s scary!
If I am right, and I’m pretty sure that I am, I need to get a small collection of wines to see me through this event. This will hold me over until Al Gore gets everything fixed (did he really win a Nobel Prize or did I imagine that?).
Don’t just go out and get some wine – buy it by the case - buy it in a state of panic, it’s Y210K! Actually, buy it by the half case so that you have more variety to drink during this crisis.
December’s release from Vintages has some great choices for a half case. 2007 was a great Niagara vintage and Ontario makes a great Cabernet Franc so pick either …
Premium Red – Inniskillin’s 2007 Reserve Series Cabernet Franc and was rated 90 by Natalie MacLean. It would be great with or without canned food.
Value Red- Jackson-Triggs 2007 Proprietors’ Reserve Cabernet Franc / Cabernet Sauvignon (LCBO 560680 $12.95) is a great deal and a great wine. I featured it at Red Brick Cafe in September to rave reviews. That reminds me to put several bags of coffee in my bunker.
Also, both of these wineries are also located within a short distance of Guelph so I can bike there to get some more if I need to.
If the other person in your bunker likes white wine then I have a couple of choices from Chile…
Premium White – Errazuriz Aconcagua Costa Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc (Vintages 135426 $15.95).
Value White – had the Errazuriz Sauvignon Blanc on the LCBO list at a party last night and loved it. It is a little light but brave enough for times like this.
Times like these demand planning – don’t get caught without good wine for the end times.
Why not ask for a wine cellar this Christmas? I have a modest wine cellar in the basement cold room and I love it – maybe even obsess over it a little. It’s sad to think that many of my friends don’t have a wine cellar this Christmas – too sad to think about sometimes. Now is the time to start a cellar.
There are no rules to starting a cellar. Just ask yourself, “What do I like to drink?” I have almost half my cellar in Spanish wines - my brother does live there – and a quarter of my cellar in Australian Shiraz. That’s not really very balanced but it’s what I like to drink.
Now that I said there are no rules – here are the rules.
Rule 1 – If you don’t have French wine and Italian wine in your cellar then I think it best that you refer to it as “some bottles in my basement” because without these Old World classics your cellar is just a wannabe.
Rule 2 – It’s a good idea to replace a couple of obligatory bottles of Champagne – and you are obliged – with Cava from Spain and then spend the extra money on a Barolo, or a Chateauneuf du Pape. Could somebody remind me why the Pope needed a second home? I’ll bet it was to because he got tired of drinking Chianti all the time and wanted some of the good French stuff.
Rule 3 – Even if you don’t usually drink white wine you really should have something white and French in your cellar – and I don’t mean a mime. I would have a couple of Chablis on hand and pay the extra money for a Premier Cru.
Rule 4 – I guess this really should be a warning. Once you start a cellar it is likely to grow in size. My friends Rob’s cellar of 500 bottles gives me cellar envy, except when I get a bottle from him as a gift. Maybe rule 4 should be that it is a good idea to have friends with higher level of wine commitment than you have. It makes for great drinking.
Rule 5 – If you need to convince someone else in your house that starting a cellar is a good idea then consider using the term “investment” frequently in the conversation - just don’t let the conversation steer in the direction of the actual meaning of that word. Don’t let the facts get in the way of a strong argument.
I love getting the Vintages catalogue in the mail. Each time it arrives at my house I run upstairs with a blue Sharpie and circle the wines on my wish list. Then I pretend that I have $200 to spend on my wish list. It’s like when you dream about what you would do if you ever won the lottery, although I guess on a much smaller scale. I never spend this kind of money on wine but it’s fun to dream. A bigger wine budget? Happy thought indeed.
Here we go …
Either Cristal Brut Champagne 2002 Vintages 268755 $287 or Opus One 2005 Vintages 026310 $299
Budget blown and I only have one bottle of wine! That’s a problem.
Okay Vintages, you are priced right out of this world on this release. You do this every year before Christmas. I guess the thinking is that since we are all going crazy spending money like crazy that you might as well bring in these crazy expensive wines.
So if I don’t buy the Cristal or Opus then here’s what I would do with $200.
1. Burgundy – Chablis Domaine Bernard Defaix Vintages 950667. Two bottles = $60 (white wine) I love a Premier Cru Chablis, it’s my favorite white wine
2. Loire – Domaine Bellevue Sauvignon Touraine 2008 Vintages 082305. Two bottles = $30 (white wine) A flinty Sauvignon from the Loire makes me pine for raw Oysters
3. Spain – Muga Reserva 2005 Vintages 177345. Two bottles = $50 Anyone may know of my love for Spanish Rioja – as my brother Kenn says “It tastes like a dry, hot summer”
4. Australia – Grant Burge The Holy Trinity Grenache/Shiraz/Mourvedre 2004 Vintages 726802. Two bottles = $60 It makes me so happy when the Aussies make a Rhone blend – a perfect marriage
I think this is $200 well spent.